AX#7 & #8 Event Reports
Autocross Event #7
Our September autocross was the second half of a two day, joint Zone event with LPR at the Marina Airport. Dave Dunwoodie did the course design honors for the LPR hosted event on Saturday. We ran the course the opposite direction on Sunday, with a few modifications organized by Dave and Larry Sharp. The changes took a few of the tight kinks out, which lowered the Top Time of Day by 1.4 seconds from the best Saturday time.
With only 60 drivers it was runs galore – 7 in the morning and 9 in the afternoon for 16 total runs for each driver. Top time was set by Steve Lau in his 2011 GT3 RS with a 40.259 on his 6th run. Steve took two more cracks in the afternoon, but decided that was as fast as he was going to go and hung it up after that. Andrew Blyholder was getting close in his 914-4, but he lost his alternator early in the afternoon and couldn’t come any closer than a 40.678. Monty Pack was just half a second behind Andrew, taking 3rd overall in his 2014 GT3.
Tara Shapowal was Top Time Ladies, coming in 5th overall. A new high mark for Tara! Clearly it won’t be long before Tara takes TToD without the Ladies suffix.
Steve and Andrew kept their positions for PAX, but Tara jumped up two positions to take 3rd in PAX. She was followed by Monty Pack, Matt Switzer, and then Dave Dunwoodie.
Competition was very tight in many classes. Paul Smith (’85 911) just nipped Larry Sharp (’06 Cayman S) by 0.042 seconds in AX8. Curtis Robertson took just one run in his ’74 914 in AX12 and decided he was done for the day. Jon Weiner stayed the whole day, chipping away at Curtis’ time in his ’95 993. He got very close, but ended up still 0.017 seconds shy of Curtis’s mark. In SS4, Ed Racer and Edward Priest both set their fastest times on run 12, but E.R’s was 0.117 faster. And finally, in SS6, Joe Weinstein (’16 Cayman GT4) was just 0.132 seconds faster then Tosh Yumae (’14 911 GT3).
After 11 runs on Saturday at the LPR event, and then 16 runs Sunday, everyone left the site with their autocross hunger fully satisfied!
Autocross Event #8
The weather forecast for Autocross #8 looked ominous all week, with winter storm predicted to roll over the Bay Area all weekend. Many didn’t bother to register, and some that did then didn’t’ bother to show up. As a result, we had a season low attendance of just 53 drivers. Alameda is a great site, but it is also fairly expensive to rent. Site fees are a bit more than $4,500 per day there. That puts our break even attendance in the neighborhood of 100 drivers. Even though we raised event prices at the beginning of this year, if our attendance stays as low as it has been so far this year, we’ll likely have to raise them again for next year. Just giving you the warning.
Sunday morning was a bit wet from overnight rains, but at least it wasn’t raining…yet. Steve Lau designed the course, keeping it intentionally on the short side to help things run smoother should the rains come. The set up crew did a great job pushing to make sure we got the event started on time, and indeed, the first cars roared off right at 9 AM. With the low car count, it looked like it might be another mega-run day like event #7 at Marina. In an attempt to get both run groups some dry track time, we planned to run just 3 runs for the morning session. It was a good plan, but ultimately unsuccessful in the end. The rain front finally blew in about 9:45, just as the first group was finishing their 3rd run. So the second group only saw a fully wet track. If you were in second group, and your competition was in the first group, you were screwed. But that’s the autocross life, and it’s also why we only count 6 of 9 events for the season standings. If you’re on the short end of the stick, that can be one of your “drop” events.
Just by the luck of the run group assignments, most of the usual Top Time of Day heavy hitters ended up in the first run group so that battle was mostly a fair fight, thought some did lose their 3rd run to the rain. Andrew Blyholder seized the day, topping the time sheets with a 54.426 in his 914-4 race car. Steve Lau (’11 911 GT3 RS) was second, 1.287 seconds behind, but suffered from rain on his 3rd run. Magnus Back (’07 997 S) was another second behind Steve, followed then by Ed Hunter (’05 997 S), with Monty Pack (’14 911 GT3) rounding out the top five. Ed is usually fighting for TToD in his 914-6 race car, but oddly decided his street ride, with a roof, heater, and defroster, might be a more pleasant option than an open race car in the rain. No accounting for taste!
Sayuri Grieshaber took Top Time for Ladies in her 2007 Cayman S with a 61.708, good for 16th overall.
Andrew and Steve held their places for top PAX times. Both are in the AX2 class, so their PAX factor is 1.0. However, Matt Switzer, using the boost from AX13’s 0.917 PAX factor, vaulted up to 3rd place in the PAX standings, trailing Steve by just 0.157 seconds. Magnus Back was 4th by an even slimmer margin, just 0.019 seconds behind Matt. Paul Smith rounded out the top 5.
The intensity of the rain waxed and waned, but wasn’t relenting. After a quick lunch break, the enthusiasm was waning too, so we did just 4 afternoon runs and then packed it up around 2 PM. Per the usual ironies of life, as we were packing the last of the cones into the trailer, the rain had stopped and dry patches were already forming on the course. Hey guys, anyone up for fun runs?!
Full results for both events #7 and #8 are available at: http://www.pca-ggr.org/autocross/results/
Just one more event to finish off the year: Saturday, Nov. 12th at Alameda. Hope to see you there!
GGR Autocross Chair
Remaining 2016 GGR Carlsen Porsche Autocross Series Calendar
November 12th, Saturday GGR #9 Alameda Point